Smart connected devices are on the rise, and there’s no turning back–the PC era is behind us. Research firm IDC released a study regarding past and future shipment estimates for smart connected devices – smartphones, computers, and “media tablets” (devices with screens larger than six inches).
Of the three categories, the IDC found that the fastest and largest growing market belonged to smartphones, which are expected to go from 494 million units last year to 660 million in 2012, a 33%increase, and nearly triple to 1.16 billion units in 2016. Though the increase may seem big, it’s still not comparable to the boom in smartphone sales in 2010 to 2011 where smartphone shipments increased by 62% from 305 million units to 494 million in just one year.
The three device categories, when summed up, would amount to 916 million units shipped in 2011 and it is expected that the number would increase by 20% to 1.1 billion next year, and more than double to 1.84 billion by 2016.
The IDC stated that the growth in smartphone shipment “will be driven by Asia/Pacific countries, especially China, where mobile operators are subsidizing the purchase of 3G smartphones,” adding that “in many if not all instances, the smartphone will be the primary connection to the internet.”
The boom in smartphone shipments may be good news for phone makers but according to some experts, the growth of the mobile market poses a higher risks of Internet fraud and hacking for consumers.
Increase in cyber threats
During the launch of the new Cyber Security Centre at Oxford University, Martin Sadler, director of the Cloud and Security Lab at HP in Bristol, England, expressed his concerns regarding the mobile market boom.
Sadler stated that by the end of this decade, there will be 35 billion devices and approximately 24 million apps used by people. Of that number, you can expect the majority of available apps to be laced with malware capable of stealing personal information, especially those that can be used for fraud or acquiring money. The problem is, most people won’t even have a clue about what cybersecurity is, let alone how to fend off malicious attacks.
“If you talk about four billion people going online by 2020, a large number of those people are in third world countries where they are looking for easy access to wealth or money – what better source of wealth than online?” Sadler said.
“There are whole groups of people who haven’t realized the Internet is an asset and disruption of the Internet is something they can choose to do. Today we have about 30 percent of the world’s population online, but by 2020 we will have reached about 50 percent — about four billion people,” Sadler said. “Of those four billion, almost all of them… are going to be engaged on the Internet with absolutely no idea what online security means.”
We’re on it
But Professor Sadie Creese, director of the new research center at Oxford University, said that cybersecurity “is on everyone’s radar at the moment.” Creese knows how integrated our real lives are to our cyber life and though there aren’t any major threats in cyberspace, she believes that it is only a matter of time before the hassles of our real lives crosses to our cyber lives.
“In reality, the days of defining a cyberspace and physical space divide are probably over. The truth of living today is we all coexist in both; we’re entangled in a sense,” Creese said. “We should expect everything that we see in what was previously considered physical space, to manifest in some way in cyberspace.”